Comedy Program Kicks off LA Tekeyan Metro Chapter Activities

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PASADENA, Calif. — The newly formed Tekeyan Cultural Association Metro Los Angeles chapter will hold its inaugural event, an Evening of Comedy and Dinner, slated for Saturday, October 27, at the Rococo Room.

Featuring performers from the greater Los Angeles community, the program aims to bring together all generations through laughter, camaraderie and insight. Headliner Harout Soghomonian will convey his signature wit and everyday observations while openers Maro Ajemian and Narine Avakian will perform selections from their respective one-woman shows.

As an artist whose ties with the Tekeyan Cultural Association go back generations, Soghomonian emphasizes the importance of comedy for everyone, particularly Armenians who “worry too much about their families and their work.” Laughter is an outlet for Soghomonian and he draws inspiration from daily life, always keeping an eye open to his surroundings.

“Every day I watch situations from a different point of view and whenever I see something funny or wrong, I like to address that back to the people so they can correct it through comedy.”

His influences include his uncle, Kevork Soghomonian, a longtime actor in Lebanon who was a member of the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Vahram Papazian Theater Group. Soghomonian followed his footsteps onto the stage, and remained an active member of the theater scene in Beirut and Los Angeles. Throughout his career, he has always maintained his own brand and style.

“I don’t imitate other people or other comedians,” said Soghomonian, “I always try to create my own style.”

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A member of the TCA for more than 35 years, Ajemian’s first exposure to comedy was through her mother who always told jokes. Over time Ajemian honed her own comedic skills and recognized the significance of comedy, especially for Armenians, “who are very reserved and may not always know how to show affection.”

“We are shy in public but should remember to be more open and laugh freely,” said Ajemian, who has performed in many Armenian plays through the AGBU Ardavazt Theater Company and now the AGBU Krikor Satamian Theatre Group.

Fellow stage actress Narine Avakian, who has also worked alongside Krikor Satamian, remarked on the ability of comedians to comprehend people and situations, allowing them to connect with their audience members. She, too, finds inspiration from her surroundings, including “something as vague as observing a crowd, or a sharp underlying thought that crosses my mind when I am in the midst of plucking my unibrow.”

Tying the need for laughter with the transgenerational effects of the Armenian Genocide on mental health, Avakian said it’s the “civic duty of comedians to help combat such predicaments by the daily introduction of humor, tchikeufteh, oghi and tabbouleh if you’re vegan enough.”

The Evening of Comedy will be the first of many cultural and educational events sponsored by the TCA in an effort to preserve the Armenian community in the Diaspora and champion historic moral and cultural values.

“I’m really happy that we have a new chapter of the Tekeyan Cultural Association in Los Angeles with a fresh new energy,” said TCA committee member Arno Yeretzian. “Tekeyan has always been a home away from home and I look forward to continuing its tradition of fostering a cozy environment for people from all over to come together and experience our rich Armenian culture and heritage.”

The TCA Metro Los Angeles Chapter’s Evening of Comedy will take place on Saturday, October 27, at The Rococo Room, located at  70 W. Union St., Pasadena. Cocktails start at 7:30 pm, dinner at 8 p.m. and program at 8:30 p.m. Tickets for the dinner and comedy show are $60 per person. Checks can be made payable to Tekeyan Cultural Association. For reservations please contact Shahnour Hovsepian at 818.730.1100 or info@TekeyanLA.org. To stay up to date on the new TCA Metro Los Angeles chapter programming, meetings and cultural events, visit www.tekeyanla.org, email info@tekeyanla.org or follow on social media on Facebook at facebook.com/TekeyanLA, Instagram@TekeyanLA and Twitter @TekeyanLA.

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